Beating the typhoon

Jongdari (Typhoon No. 12)

I was a bit worried about being caught out by Jongdari, Typhoon No. 12, while at my driving lesson today. I only had a couple of hours of classroom lectures, but it’s about an hour’s commute each way. When I came out of the lecture hall the rain hadn’t started yet, but the wind was picking up a bit. I thought about having lunch near the station, and then decided I’d be better off getting home to try to beat the rain.

I messaged Nana several times on the way to let her know I’d be happy to pick up anything we need. She finally got back to me just as I arrived at the station and said, “No, we’re fine.”

When I got home, Nana warmed up some leftover beef Stroganoff for me and then said she’s going to the 7-11 later.

You’d better go now.
7-11 is just downstairs.

(NB: It’s outside, around the other side of the building.)

It’s a typhoon.

She goes. She comes back for the umbrella and goes again. She comes back and reports that the umbrella was worthless because of the wind.

(In the end she’d gone to get another bottle of shochu. She said she didn’t want to ask the deliveryman to come out in this weather. So points for thoughtfulness, I guess.)

At least I have an answer now

Whenever I tell people I live in a high-rise apartment, they always ask, “But what about earthquakes?” I’ve always just shrugged and repeated some of the assurances we had from the real estate company about how strong the building is and how firm the ground it’s built on.

Chiba quake, from Yahoo
Chiba quake, from Yahoo

Until tonight. We had a siren on the television, and within a second the building was shaking. Nana opened the sliding glass door to the balcony and then ran to me and gripped me tightly while the swaying continued.

It took a few minutes to get all the information. The quake was just off the coast of Chiba, M6.0. In the Japanese seismic intensity scale (which measures the amount of shaking at the surface), it was a low 5. Within Tokyo, it was a 3. Importantly, there was no danger of tsunami.

So what will I tell people when they ask now about living in a high-rise apartment? For the most part, the building swayed gently. Given the intensity of the quake, it wasn’t bad. I feel safer here than I would in a lot of other buildings (including the wooden house I rented for 17 years).